A Commitment to Excellence:
A Leader With Heart...and Guts
She was born in the Long Beach Naval Hospital to a typical blue-collar family. Her father was a former Marine who worked as a machinist, while her mom stayed home and took care of three children. Her parents taught her that when you care deeply about something, you pour your heart into it. And that's what Gerrie Schipske has been doing her entire life. Gerrie Schipske began working at age 16, peeling shrimp in a restaurant. She continued working all through school -- paying her own college tuition and eventually receiving five degrees.
She started her public service as a legislative aide to a U.S. Member of Congress. She returned to Long Beach and served as the City's first Public Information and Citizen Participation Coordinator and then the Director of the Commercial Services Bureau, where she managed 105 employees. When she decided to adopt children, she returned to her first interest -- healthcare and became a licensed Nurse Practitioner and then an attorney -- both skills she has used to assist hundreds of people seeking health care coverage.
Appointed to the City of Long Beach Public Health and Human Services Board, she fought to remove abused children from being held in the City jail until placement in a foster home. She also launched a public information campaign concerning how alcohol consumed during pregnancy could cause birth defects.
Her work with the Long Beach Police Department on the Women's Advisory Committee to the Chief resulted in critical changes in the handling of sexual assault and domestic violence by police. She was also appointed by the President to the U.S. Attorney General's National Advisory Council on Violence Against Women.
Gerrie started her legal career being sworn into the United States Supreme Court bar by Justice Ruth Ginsburg.
Gerrie was elected to the Long Beach Community College Board of Trustees and encouraged students to become teachers through an Educational Compact. Later, Gerrie Schipske taught law and ethics for many years at CSULB.
As a member of the Long Beach City Council, Gerrie Schipske fought for open and transparent local government, winning an honor from the White House in 2013 as one of only seven "Champions of Change for Open Government."
She also was a relentless advocate for taxpayers and was the only councilperson to stand up against increases in parcel and sales taxes in Long Beach. She later helped take on the City when it illegally raised water utility rates.
Gerrie Schipske pushed forward Long Beach's first memorial for those who gave their lives in military service after 9/11 by creating "The Long Beach Hometown Heroes" 15-banner display in Rosie the Riveter Park.
Appointed to represent the public on the Medical Board of California, she reviewed hundreds of cases filed against physicians.
Gerrie Schipske has brought her commitment to excellence to where ever she serves.
Gerrie and her partner Flo Pickett, have been together 42 years. They reside in eastside Long Beach where they raised three wonderful children and are co-parenting their 12-year-old granddaughter. Two rescue dogs round out their family.
Whenever things need to get done, Gerrie Schipske steps up and pours her heart into it.